KEY POINTS

  • Seattle citizens will receive extended protection against rent-related evictions. 
  • A new bill offers six additional months of protection ahead of the rent moratorium's end.
  • Landlords have spoken out against the bill, claiming they should not be penalized. 

Seattle citizens will now receive extended eviction protection for six months following the expiration of the current moratorium on rent. 

The Seattle City Council voted on Monday to approve a bill that would provide tenants with additional defense against rent-related evictions for half a year with the June 4 moratorium lift looming large. Seattle previously had its own protections in place for those paying rent in addition to Washington state, which also came to the aid of nonprofits and some small businesses. All of those protections are set to run out next month. 

The new Seattle bill, sponsored by Council President M. Lorena González, will add a section to an existing city law that will line out the circumstances under which an eviction can be carried out, as well as add the six-month proviso. The bill was approved with a landslide 9-0 vote. 

The bill states that a landlord "may not evict a residential tenant" based on a certain defense: when an eviction based on their failure to pay rent would force them to leave their property within six months of Seattle's rent moratorium. There will be a need for tenants to prove that they've dealt with financial difficulties as well, and the rent payments will not be waived. 

“This legislation [...] can help people stay housed, and that is the bottom line," said González, whose "time-limited tool" of a bill will allow those affected a chance to "dig out" of the current economic issues many are going through. However, not everyone is pleased about the bill – namely landlords who are going without payment because of it. 

"Tenants have a legal obligation to pay rent and we have a legal obligation to provide quality housing,” said Dana Frank, landlord. "We housing providers should not be penalized."

Previously in February, there was a special defense bill for tenants passed for rent-related evictions between Dec. 1 and March 1, helping to extend eviction protection for nearly a year. While this certainly isn't the perfect solution for many, it will ensure those in need of shelter get to remain home during this difficult time.